The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad [Blu-ray] David Zucker

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad [Blu-ray] David Zucker
Much like Airplane! did eight years prior, Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers' Naked Gun inspired a protracted cinematic obsession with spoof comedy, ingratiating Leslie Nielsen and the concept of pop culture irreverence into the dominant lexicon. Having branched out with dark comedy Ruthless People two years earlier, to mixed reactions, after serving up minor hit Top Secret, this comedy trio found the most success returning to their satirical roots, even though Jerry Zucker left the genre shortly after, making movies like Ghost and First Night. And while Jim Abrahams followed up this success with the Hot Shots franchise, frying eggs on Valeria Golino's midriff, it's forgettable copycat garbage like National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon, Fatal Instinct and Repossessed that inevitably killed the genre long before Naked Gun 33 1/3rd stank up the Cineplex. Regardless, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone born before 1985 that wouldn't know the lines, "nice Beaver," "thanks, I just had it stuffed yesterday," which says something for the significance of this noir potboiler spoof. The fact that the film is about police officer Frank Drebbin (Nielsen) stumbling upon an assassination plot involving Queen Elizabeth II is almost incidental to the many gags involving body condoms and concrete penises that people remember about the film. There's also the inherent weirdness of including sportsmen like O.J. Simpson and Reggie Jackson, along with Priscilla Presley, as the main love interest, to add curiosity to the ludicrous plotting involving provocative sexual positions with the Queen and bumbling mayhem with player pianos and priceless art. And even though comedy has come a long way since 1988, when this was released, making many of the jokes fall flat in a modern context, there is something nostalgic about revisiting this material 20 years later. The cleaned up picture makes checking it out on Blu-Ray worthwhile, even if the limited special features – a bland commentary track – add little incentive. (Paramount)